New Grovo CLO Summer Salomonsen is an L&D industry veteran who has been appointed to lead the company’s content strategy, learning experience, and design teams.

Salomonsen began her career in public education, and spent seven years managing and implementing corporate learning strategy in the healthcare space. Most recently, she served as principal consultant at Intrepid Learning.

Salomonsen, who won Brandon Hall’s 2017 Gold Emerging Star Award, is pursuing her doctorate of education in organizational change and leadership from the University of Southern California.

Learning Solutions recently spoke with Salomonsen about microlearning, her new position, and her vision for the future. This interview has been lightly edited for length, clarity, and focus.

Figure 1: New Grovo CLO Summer Salomonsen

Susan Jacobs (SJ): Congratulations on your new position, Summer. Tell us a little bit about your background.

Summer Salomonsen (SS): I started out in public education. My undergrad was in English and Spanish education. The last 10 years or so have been principally in L&D and mid-market consulting with global firms.

SJ: Why did you decide to join the Grovo team?

SS: Part of my motivation to join Grovo was because they were the leader in microlearning. I intrinsically wanted to be part of the team that had spearheaded this term and had made such an impact broadly in the L&D landscape, and I was thrilled to be part of the next iteration of that.

SJ: What is your strategy for Grovo moving forward?

SS: One of my initial goals as we move forward is to focus on the building of a responsive and connected Microlearning® library of content. So much of content creation practices in the industry have been focused on dazzling you with numbers of how many lessons we have. But my vision is: To be truly impactful and change real learning work, it’s got to be focused on a library that’s alive and responsive to the changing workforce; that is connected to learners in their roles; and is a proponent of Grovo’s values. That’s one of the first big initiatives.

The second is integrating testing methodology within what we create. Grovo recently trademarked the term Microlearning. Part of that initiative is meant to elevate the conversation and add validity to the term Microlearning. We intend to back that up. Content cannot be created in a vacuum; it needs to be learner-first from the moment of its inception to the moment you publish it. The only way to do that is to integrate testing into your content to validate that it’s resonating in ways you want it to.

SJ: Is this a change from what the corporate focus was before you came aboard?

SS: It’s less of a change, and more of an enhancement. Our content is not individual bites of content, but is nuanced to include personas that reflect critical thresholds of an employee life cycle. We believe that when employees are new to the workforce, or the first time they are asked to lead a project or manage an external/internal relationship … those offer unique opportunities to be responsive to learning. We have nuanced our content with a persona-based model that we believe brings greater impact for the learner.

SJ: Can you provide more detail about that?

SS: I can give you a very specific example. We looked at content topically described as project management. Those early lessons had not been applied to different moments of an employee life cycle. We said, this is going to be less valuable for the spectrum of learners if it is not nuanced to their situation, so let’s re-look at 16 lessons on project management and align them more closely with the project management that is reflective of the current workforce, which is much flatter and more team-based, so can we empower people to manage projects even outside of formal roles of authority.

SJ: Is there anything else new at Grovo?

SS: In August, we released a Microlearning authoring tool called Create that bridges the gap between the off-the-shelf content, and needs that organizations have to fit that content into their life cycle. In the Create tool they can copy one of our lessons. They can add their company logo, a link to a feedback survey they want at the end, or a video from their CEO welcoming employees to complete that lesson. So it provides a tailored, customized view of the content we create, which of course increases ownership and improves that transfer of knowledge afterwards.